Linen is a natural fabric made of fibers from the stems of the flax plant, an incredibly sustainable and versatile plant. Unlike cotton and processed fabrics, linen is a strong fabric that softens with use, rather than deteriorating after a few seasons of wear. However, this particular fabric is prone to constant wrinkling, even when you follow the wash and dry instructions. Lucky for you, the natural wrinkling of linen is just a universal truth, so it’s not a big deal if your outfit has a few creases in it!
Here is our go-to guide for how to properly care for the linen pieces you already have in your closet, as well as a few new pieces we think would be the perfect addition to your wardrobe this season!
Each fabric in your wardrobe requires its own set of washing instructions. And no, the answer is not to throw everything in together in one load – unless you want all of your clothes ruined! Linen pieces need specific care – especially in the wash – to maintain their integrity.
Unless specified on the tag, most linen pieces (including bedding) can be washed in a standard washing machine. However, you need to wash linen in smaller loads on a gentle cycle, so make sure that your washing machine has that capability. Wash with lukewarm water – too hot, and it will shrink your linen! It’s best to wash your linens together and avoid washing them with rougher fabrics like denim, which can damage your clothes in the wash.
And, as always, separate your darks and your lights. You should also turn your pieces inside out and make sure that all zippers are zipped to avoid damage. Your days of throwing everything in the washing machine with blind disregard and reckless abandon are over!
When it comes to products, you don’t need a softener. Linen naturally softens over time, so adding extra “softening” will actually ruin your pieces after a few washes. Use a gentle detergent, and you are good to go!
Linen is one of the fastest drying fabrics out there, so the drying process is pretty straightforward. You could put them in the dryer on low heat, but it’s actually not necessary to do so because the items will dry better when hung.
Drying your linen in the sun, however, will cause the color to fade, so it’s best to keep them out of direct sunlight. Lay them out flat (to minimize the amount of wrinkles) or hang them on a dry line near your washing machine to keep them out of the way. Most pieces, even larger sheets and bedding, only take an hour to dry.
Before storing them away, your linen pieces need to be 100% dry. Storing sheets or other bedding pieces when they are slightly damp will damage them due to linen’s natural moisture locking tendencies.
If drying your pieces according to these instructions didn’t go as planned (it happens to us all!), there are a few extra steps you can take to keep your pieces from getting wrinkly. First, linen loves to be ironed but will also naturally begin to crinkle if it isn’t worn for a while. If you want super smooth pieces, iron them right before you wear them for the best results.
Steaming is another great way to get wrinkles out of linen. After air drying, use a steamer to focus on larger problem areas where the wrinkles are concentrated, or hang up your outfit outside your shower for an all-over steam.
Linen Style Inspo!
Need some inspo on how to style your linen pieces? Take a look at these gorgeous outfits!
Must-Have Linen Pieces
Now that we’ve covered how to care for your linen pieces, here are a few more we think you need in your closet!